Most of the people have had an infected finger sometime in their life. It is not an uncommon condition. Paronychia or felons are common infections of the finger. Infections can be of viral, bacterial, or even fungal origin. Which ever the origin, timely treatment is important for early recovery as well as to avoid deeper complications.
One of the most common infections of the finger is paronychia. It is caused due to the infection of the skin around the nail. It is a superficial infection that usually restricts to the epithelium, and is characterized by the common signs of inflammation. Pain, redness and swelling of the affected finger are the first symptoms that most patients complain about. With bacterial infestation, the nail bed also collects pus in some cases. Biting nails or the pulling away of hangnails are a few common triggering factors that lead to paronychia.
Felon is another similar finger infection that occurs usually due to any injury or piercing of a splinter. With localized throbbing pain and swelling, there is also abscess formation. Flexor tenosynovitis is a more deep rooted finger infection. Tenosynovium is the sheath that covers the tendon and it is filled with synovial fluid, allowing easy movement. In flexor tenosynovitis there is irritation and inflammation of the tenosynovium of the flexors of the finger which cause rigid and painful flexing and straightening of the fingers. This condition can arise due to several causes including infection or other conditions like arthritis. Immediate treatment and surgery is often the line of treatment in this case. Similarly, deep space infections occur in-between fingers where spreading the fingers is painful.
Herpetic whitlow is a finger infection that is viral in origin and contagious in nature. It usually affects the terminal phalanx and presents with redness, swelling, pain and eruption that are vesicular in nature. The vesicles often have a clear liquid secretion which is the infective stage of the disease. HSV1 and HSV 2 are the types of virus that cause herpetic whitlow. Also known as whitlow, it is a self limiting disease, and often passes away without any treatment.
Any infection spreads easily to those who have a weaker immune system. Timely care and correct diagnosis is important for a treatment. Always detail your physician with all knowledge you have regarding the wound or origin of infection and other health details. In cases of swelling on the infected finger, keeping the hand elevated helps.